Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kuala Lumpur LitFest 2007 - Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah, is a British Rastafarian writer and dub poet, and is well known in contemporary English literature. (Dub Poetry is a form of performance poetry consisting of spoken word over reggae rhythms, that originated in Jamaica in the 1970s.)

Zephaniah published his first book of poems, Pen Rhythm, in 1980, which was so well received that three editions were published. His album Rasta, which featured The Wailers' first recording since the death of Bob Marley as well as a tribute to Nelson Mandela, gained him international prestige and topped the Yugoslavian pop charts.

A self-described passionate vegan, Zephaniah has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of North London (in 1998), the University of Central England (in 1999), Staffordshire University (in 2002), London South Bank University (in 2003), the University of Exeter and the University of Westminster (in 2006).

Bejamin Zephaniah will perform his poetry, read from his novels, followed by a discussion. Topic of discussions will include his sources of inspiration for his writing and how he began, brief background on dub poetry and its impact on listeners, how writing prose is for him vs. poetry, performing poetry and using music, his experiences with poetry for radio and TV, his experiences making poetry a popular and accessible art form.

Bejamin Zephaniah is sponsored by The British Council. Watch a video of an interview with British Council in Brazil. (Don't worry only a bit of it is in Portuguese.) Watch other videos here on YouTube.